Definition of stem-winder in English:



  • 1informal An entertaining and rousing speech.

    ‘a stem-winder of a speech’
    • ‘Giuliani used some of the most overt forms in order to present a classic political stem-winder.’
    • ‘His was no Gettysburg Address, to be sure, but compared to some of the stem-winders of history, Mr. Clinton's speech, delivered at a rapid pace, flew by.’
    • ‘To say it wasn't a stem-winder is simply to say that it wasn't like Barack Obama's speech a few nights back, or Clinton's, or even Clark's or Sharpton's for that matter.’
    • ‘How about Rush Limbaugh hanging out while John Kerry delivers his stem-winder?’
    • ‘Some news, like Democrat Barack Obama's dazzling stem-winder last July, took place when the networks were airing sitcom repeats or reality shows.’
  • 2dated A watch wound by turning a knob on the end of a stem.


stem-winder (sense 1) from the notion of ‘winding up’ or causing a lively reaction from those listening.